Suicide Warning Signs
While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most people who are suicidal do give some sign that they are thinking about suicide. By knowing these signs - and what to do if you if you see them in yourself or another person - you can help prevent a suicide. September 4th through the 10th is Suicide Prevention Week, please recognize the important role you could have in helping someone you love.
What are the signs?
- Threatening to hurt of kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself;
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means;
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person;
- Feelings of hopelessness;
- Feelings of rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge;
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking;
- Feeling trapped - like there’s no way out;
- Increasing alcohol or drug use;
- Withdrawing from friends, family and society;
- Giving away possessions;
- Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time;
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes;
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
What should you do if you or someone you know shows these signs?
Take action by seeking help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional, a parent, or teacher or boss, or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifelineat 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you feel someone is in immediate danger of taking their own life, call 911 or the Lifeline right away. If you are with the person you think is in imminent danger of taking their life, stay with that person until help arrives.
Stigma associated with mental illnesses can prevent people from getting help. Your willingness to talk about depression and suicide with a friend, family member, or co-worker can be the first step in getting help and preventing suicide.
If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide...
Begin a dialogue by asking questions.Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seeking professional help. Questions okay to ask:
- "Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?"
- "Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?"
- "Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?"
- "Have you thought about what method you would use?"
Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family members is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. Calling the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK is also a resource for you or the person you care about for help. Remember; always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.
Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. You have bigger things to worry about-someone’s life might be in danger! It is better to lose a relationship from violating a confidence than it is to go to a funeral. And most of the time they will come back and thank you for saving their life.
Don't try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Your opinion of a person's situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering with a mental illness that it's not that bad, or that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that depression is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better!
If you feel the person isn't in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain as legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Make sure you follow through. This is one instance where you must be tenacious in your follow-up. Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. If you're in a position to help, don't assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
Information for this article was taken from www.save.org and www.reachout.com and is submitted on behalf of Aliive-Roberts County (formerly There's Hope coalition).Visit us at aliive.org or search us at "Aliive RobertsCounty" on Facebook.